Peter's Blog

Just commenting on things that interest me

Month: February 2016

A Very Murray Christmas

I am a big Bill Murray fan. Watching “Scrooged” is a highlight of my Christmas.

And I like Christmas specials. My favorite  Christmas song (“Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth”) only exists because David Bowie appeared on one of Bing Crosby’s Christmas specials. Bing’s Christmas specials were a little before my time, but I remember enjoying specials by Morecambe and Wise and Stanley Baxter back in the day.

So I was quite excited about watching Bill Murray’s Christmas Special on Netflix.

It was just awful. It has a score of 5.6 on IMDB at the moment, which is very low for a TV show, especially (I imagine) a seasonal one.

I’m not sure exactly what went wrong. Sofia Coppola directed and was involved in the writing. There were lots of (what should have been) good quests like George Clooney, Chris Rock, and Amy Poehler.

But, for me, nothing really worked.

What obviously wasn’t going to work (for me at least) was having Miley Cyrus. She is not someone (vocally or by personality) I would ever associate with Christmas.

If they ever decide to do it again (and I’m not sure that would be a good idea) then they should get Christina Perri instead. She had a beautiful voice and released a Christmas album called “a very merry perri christmas” back in 2012.

Much better choice.

I should have killed you when I had the chance

My favorite cartoon is Scooby Doo. Once of the parts of the cartoon which I looked forward to was when the villain would say: “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids”. Genius!

A guy on YouTube, who goes by the name of “Jukka-Pekka Bohm”, obviously formed a fixation on the phrase “I should have killed you when I had the chance”.

I can’t imagine how much work was involved in doing this, but in the video below he has string together 88 clips of people in movies using this phrase! (or something very close to it).

My hat is off to you sir!

Unexplained Music

For some time now I have been experiencing a strange phenomenon on my laptop: at odd times it has suddenly started playing music. It would always be the same music – some kind of instrumental which I could not place. The strange thing was that it was playing more than one copy of the musics at the same time, generating a strange cacophony.

I worked out that it would only happen when Firefox was open – something which I was able to verify by using the Volume Mixer when it was happening.

I searched on the web thinking that it must have happened to someone else but no luck.

I finally worked out what was causing it and I thought I would share it.

I stalled a Firefox extension called “Distil Web Monitor” and I configured it to watch a particular web page for changes (I was waiting for their 2016 price-list to be released).

I was monitoring 3 versions of the page (in 3 different languages).

Each version of the page includes a video. This video is normally muted by default. Here is the HTML which is used to embed the video:

<video autoplay="autoplay" muted="muted" loop="loop" poster="videohome/COMMERCIAL_SHORT-G.jpg" style="width:100%" title="">
		<source src="videohome/COMMERCIAL_SHORT-G.m4v" type="video/mp4" />
		<source src="videohome/COMMERCIAL_SHORT-G.webm" type="video/webm" />
		<object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" data="videohome/flashfox.swf" width="164" height="92" style="position:relative;">
		<param name="movie" value="videohome/flashfox.swf" />
		<param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" />
		<param name="flashVars" value="autoplay=true&amp;controls=true&amp;fullScreenEnabled=true&amp;posterOnEnd=true&amp;loop=false&amp;poster=videohome/COMMERCIAL_SHORT-G.jpg&amp;src=COMMERCIAL_SHORT-G.m4v" />
		 <embed src="videohome/flashfox.swf" width="164" height="92" style="position:relative;"  flashVars="autoplay=true&amp;controls=true&amp;fullScreenEnabled=true&amp;posterOnEnd=true&amp;loop=false&amp;poster=videohome/COMMERCIAL_SHORT-G.jpg&amp;src=COMMERCIAL_SHORT-G.m4v"	allowFullScreen="true" wmode="transparent" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer_en" />
		<img alt="COMMERCIAL SHORT-G" src="videohome/COMMERCIAL_SHORT-G.jpg" style="position:absolute;left:0;" width="100%" title="Video playback is not supported by your browser" />
		</object>
		</video>

So what must have been happening was that, at regular (but seemingly mysterious) intervals, the extension was going out to fetch the 3 pages to look for changes and, when this happened, all three versions of the video started to play but they were not muted!

So I removed the 3 pages from my Distill extension (the new price-list is out now) and the problem has gone away.

#OscarsSoIrish

There has been much talk recently (justifiable without a doubt) about #OscarsSoWhite.

But for us here in Ireland the excitement is around #OscarsSoIrish!

Irish people and movies have achieved a record-breaking number of nominations:

  • Room and Brooklyn for best picture
  • Michael Fassbender and Saoirse Ronan for Best Actor and Best Actress respectively
  • Lenny Abrahamson for Best Director
  • Emma Donoghue for Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Stutterer, from Irish director Benjamin Cleary, for best live-action short.

And I think we should also claim the following:

  • American actress Brie Larson for Room
  • English writer Nick Hornby, who adapted Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn.

Can’t wait for the 28th. Fingers crossed!

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